[34] Holiday Planning: Black Friday & Cyber Monday Email Ideas – Email Growth Society

[34] Holiday Planning: Black Friday & Cyber Monday Email Ideas

CWEG 34 | Holiday Planning

In this month's BONUS email ideas episode, we're focusing on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While your holiday approach will be much more than that, we need to ensure that our strategy is intact for these 2 BIG MONEY days. I share what to think about and all of the ideas that you can do to execute effectively.


Have questions?

Send them my way at conversations@emailgrowthsociety.com


Listen to the podcast here:

Holiday Planning: Black Friday & Cyber Monday Email Ideas

Are we there yet? Is it holiday time yet? No, but it is coming fast and furious. We have been in holiday planning mode for weeks now on the show. I hope that you have been getting more and more ready with your approach and all the details involved. We're going to zero in on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As you know, most months, I do an email focus for the following month to give you some email ideas, so now we'll focus on those Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails.

Understanding how to tackle these two important days will be key in your overall plan, but remember, while these are going to be the big money days, there’s more to your approach, like we chatted about in the past episode. The question remains. How do you stand out in a super crowded inbox on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

I've got a few thoughts. First things first, offer a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive offer on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There's a reason Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest shopping days of the year. They offer the best discounts. Don't disappoint visitors by failing to offer what consumers have come to not only want but demand. Whether your sale is a store-wide blowout or a ploy to enhance a perceived discount, offering competitive discounts is an essential tactic to ensuring sales.

After all, we're talking about the busiest shopping days of the year. Give your customers an incentive to choose your store over your competitors. This means something different to every business. I recommend that you collect all of your discounts that you have given throughout the year and that are live in your flow. Put them all in a spreadsheet of some sort and then take a look back through some of your competitor's emails, which I know you have because most brands creep on their competitors, and then put those in your sheet in a different column, and then take a high-level look. This is a great starting point for you to strategize the discounts and see what you've offered or offering so that you make sure you step it up.

Offering competitive discounts is an essential tactic to ensuring sales. 

Let's go through the three phases we need to think about for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. First is the prelaunch. There are a few ways that you can prelaunch the holiday season. First is the teaser email. Much like a trailer teases a blockbuster movie, the teaser email is a way to build a subscriber's excitement for your upcoming Black Friday deals. This email can be something like one message that says, “We're going to be doing something special for you this Black Friday. Remember to check your inbox. In the meantime, start browsing.” This is a great example of building anticipation and conditioning recipients to keep an eye open on the big day.

Another idea is to showcase some of the great deals you'll have for Black Friday or Cyber Monday with a mark your calendar's kind of feel. You are inviting subscribers to click through before Black Friday is an effective way to gauge pre-engagement, which can help you better segment your email campaigns once the day arrives. Ideally, let's get this one out about five days ahead of the big day. You can always put another one out midweek as well. That's the teaser email.

We've got the early access email. Given that hundreds, if not thousands, of brands compete for your attention every Black Friday, it's unsurprising that many retailers begin Black Friday before Friday by granting early access. This is also where your send times are going to come in very handy, knowing when to send these emails. A great example of this was in 2019. Fashion retailer Kate Spade offered subscribers 30% off everything a full five days before Black Friday.

To add more exclusivity to your emails, you can frame early access as a benefit. Few are privy to using language like, “For a VIP like you,” or, “Customers only.” If you launch before Friday, don't be afraid to tell subscribers why you're doing it and remind them they're on your list for a reason. That is more of your prelaunch. You want to start thinking about if these make sense for your brand.

CWEG 34 | Holiday Planning


Next, you have the launch. It's time for the big day, so what may you want to consider? We've got the announcement email. You're likely to receive close to 400 Black Friday emails, if not more, depending on what lists you're on. With this in mind, once the big day rolls around, what are you going to do to rise above a crowded inbox? First, writing an eye-catching subject line is one way to go about getting attention. It's time to bring out all of the creative juices. Standing out takes creativity and wit. Once readers open your email, you will want to drive as many clicks as possible.

One thing you will notice about best-performing announcement emails is that they are simple and they lean on curiosity. An email body that says, “It's here,” with a CTA, you won't believe it, cuts through the clutter and moves folks straight to shop. Another great option is, “Have you heard Black Friday is here and our celebration is in full swing? CTA access the sale.” These are really simple and get to the point. You are using your email as a surface, almost like an advertisement, to move forward and shop the sale.

For the announcement email, you don't want to get drowned in all of those details that we put in emails, and maybe your teaser emails might have. A few other best practices I recommend are offering free shipping above a certain basket value, using markdowns to reflect price drops, and reminding subscribers that they can call or reply to the email if they have further questions. These are three extra tips. That's the announcement email, and then we've also got the version where we do the daily deals email, which is my favorite. Many retailers now begin Black Friday a day, a week or even a month early, so it's understandable that many want to continue building excitement over Black Friday week.

One way that's gaining popularity is by offering daily deals where you release one deal at a time rather than all at once. When combined with the teaser email mentioned earlier, the daily deals email effectively delivers on the previews and promises made in the email. Also, the daily deals allow you to gather more concrete data on your subscribers. Rather than driving them to your store to use a site-wide discount, you can learn which category or even items are more popular and continue with your marketing efforts. For instance, remarketing email follow-up, etc.

Making the site experience really easy is going to be the key to actually getting the sale. The email can only drive them there.

Lastly, we also got the free gift email. Not everyone is motivated by Black Friday discounts, and it's understandable. With countless brands waving discounts left, right and center, readers are fast desensitized to a price reduction, and not to mention, they are anticipating it. One way to incentivize your subscribers to take action is often a freebie with a certain product. This can be, “If you buy X product, get 50% off any other product,” or a great one is bundling and adding in freebies like, “For today only, you can get X, Y and Z product at a discounted price and we're going to throw in this and this.”

As we head into Black Friday, that's the announcement, but what about the transition to Cyber Monday? You’ve done your Black Friday thing and now, how do we transition from one big sale to another that are just days apart? Here are my top two options. First is the merge. Sometimes, it makes sense to do what I call the merge. This simply means that you start with your prelaunch, hit Black Friday as sale day number one and then use Cyber Monday as sale day number two. From there, you can decide if you will extend. What I mean by this is that it is, in essence, one campaign. You may use your prelaunch to give teasers about the big deals starting on Black Friday and ending on Cyber Monday. This allows you to not over email, yet still, capitalize on those golden days.

You can still call out Black Friday and Cyber Monday and still send on those days, but in essence, we've woven one seamless campaign. I will add that this approach can increase the urgency and reduce the fear of missing out that happens during these holidays, and what do I mean by that? Some shoppers will hold out and skip Black Friday altogether because they are thinking maybe Cyber Monday will offer them a bigger and better discount.

In some cases, they're super happy they waited, and in some cases, they're pretty bummed because they missed out on something. By creating a merged campaign, you are setting expectations that your sales start on Black Friday and run through Cyber Monday, or perhaps you will have a different deal each day, but regardless, you build this transparent overarching campaign in which folks will be able to participate when they want and it makes sense for them and they know what's coming. That's the merge.

CWEG 34 | Holiday Planning


Your other option transitioning into Cyber Monday is separate campaigns. Transitioning off the last concern for shoppers has me wanting to get your gears turning a bit as it relates to running separate campaigns. After doing a lot of research, I always recommend that you run deals that are exclusive yet unique on both days, which means that I, the consumer, could buy both my Black Friday deal and Cyber Monday deal instead of feeling like I didn't get the best deal.

Imagine when you're crafting separate campaigns that if I am a shopper with you, I could buy your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals because they're different and they offer me something else. I don't have to worry about, “I should have bought it on Black Friday because I could have saved 50%, and now, Cyber Monday is only this percentage off on a product.” Think that through.

Here's what it could look like in practice. Three days before Black Friday, your prelaunch begins for Black Friday only. November 26th, 2021, you execute your Black Friday email on whatever approach you're taking on. On November 28th, 2021 your teaser and sneak peek of Cyber Monday is sent, and then on November 29th, 2021 your Cyber Monday email goes out then you've got the option to extend the Cyber Monday specials based on sales, etc. That's how you could organize it if it was three separate campaigns, and remember, the big difference between the merge and the separate campaign technique is that the merge is weaving one concrete story throughout the entire campaign and the transparency's a bit more upfront.

One last thing I will recommend to you all is that these emails are simple. Also, using things like countdown timers and simple gifts are pretty powerful for catching the eye. The other thing to keep in mind is that you need to ensure the place you're dropping these folks after the click has been tested and is friction-free. I'm talking about your landing pages.

Making the site experience really easy is going to be the key to getting the sale. Remember, the email can only drive them there so once they click there on their own path and if you lose sales after the click, that's likely due to your site, so make sure you go through it and there's no friction and no issues. Success on these two days will come down to A) How well you executed your pregame and B) How good were the deals, not to mention that the entire checkout experience works. Please send your questions to Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com. Until next time. Happy emailing and happy planning for your holidays, everyone.

Important Links: